Rating: 4.33 stars   6 reviews

Issues: Animals, Environment, Crime & Law

Location: 1216 Lincoln Street Eugene OR 97401 USA

Mission: The Western Environmental Law Center uses the power of the law to safeguard the wildlife, wildlands, and communities of the American West. We envision a West with thriving, resilient wildlands, waters, and wildlife; a region powered by clean, renewable energy; and communities that are rooted in an ethic of conservation. We combine our legal skills with sound conservation biology and environmental science to address major environmental issues in the West in the most strategic and effective manner. We work at the national, regional, state, and local levels; and in all three branches of government. WELC integrates national policies and regional perspective with the local knowledge of our 100+ partner groups to implement smart and appropriate place-based actions. WELC has a highly experienced team of expert attorneys, conservation biologists and Western policy experts. We work close to the ground, with offices in Oregon, Montana, and New Mexico. As a public interest law firm, WELC does not charge clients and partners for services, but relies instead on charitable gifts from individuals, families, and foundations to accomplish our mission.
Results: We have secured critical victories for the environment and communities of the American West. Most recently, we: • Stopped—for the second year in a row—recreational wolverine trapping in Montana, the only state in the lower 48 that still permits this horrific practice. With less than 50 wolverines capable of breeding remaining in the lower 48 states, our victory gives this rare, fierce carnivore a fighting chance to recover its population and avoid extinction. • Protected ecosystems and communities in the West from harmful oil and gas drilling on public lands. In Colorado, our legal advocacy stopped drilling on 20,000 acres in the fertile North Fork Valley, on 12,000 acres near Durango, and on the Gunnison National Forest near critical elk habitat. We blocked a lease sale in New Mexico that would have allowed drilling next to family farms and ranches in the Chama River Valley. And we won a precedent-setting right-to-know victory that forces BLM to reveal the names of entities nominating public lands for oil and gas drilling. • Beat back yet another challenge from the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association to secure a victory safeguarding all perennial rivers, streams, and wetlands in New Mexico’s Wilderness Areas as Outstanding National Resource Waters. Our win protects 1.4 million acres of watersheds, 700 miles of rivers and streams, 29 lakes, and 5,400 acres of wetlands in this arid state. • Forced the Bureau of Land Management to conduct intensive, on-the-ground surveys for cultural and historic features in Montana’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. This important victory ensures the Monument’s cultural properties, sites, and features are identified, protected, and preserved for future generations. For more results on our work, please visit: http://www.westernlaw.org/successes
Target demographics: safeguard wildlife, wildlands, and communities.
Geographic areas served: the American West
Programs: Wildlands: Defending and restoring the natural heritage of the West Wildlife: Protecting and recovering wildlife species indigenous to the West Climate and Energy: Fighting dirty energy while promoting a clean, renewable energy future in the West
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EIN 93-1010269
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a WELC supporter for many years and a board member for going on three years. As such, I have been privy to and witnessed the growth of WELC, from both a program and a positive impact perspective. Much of the credit for this growth is attributable to very good leadership on the part of the Executive Director, Greg Costello, and the talented and dedicated staff attorneys. WELC is invested in providing its constituents with exemplary litigation and non-litigation support in a number of critical areas within the environmental law arena. The consistently positive results obtained by WELC in pursuing its goals and those of its clients speaks volumes with respect to its expertise in this area. I strongly suggest that anyone who is interested in supporting an on-the-ground environmental law organization that consistently achieves sought after results should seriously consider supporting WELC. If you are interested in seeing/hearing more about WELC, check out its website - www.westernlaw.org.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

serving as a board member.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase its funding and thus its ability to make a real difference in the environmental law arena.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I'll admit it, I'm biased. The Western Environmental Law Center works to protect things I care a lot about: old growth forests, wildlife habitat, clean air, drinking water for local communities...the list goes on. They provide policy guidance, scientific advice, and legal representation to conservation groups, state and local governments, individuals and small businesses across the West who want to protect their communities and quality of life. And WELC doesn't charge for their services. Instead, they rely on donations and grants from individuals and foundations. Over the past 35 years - first as the University of Oregon's Environmental Law Clinic and now (since 1993) as an independent non-profit organization - the Western Environmental Law Center has worked with hundreds of partner groups, individuals and businesses. In that time, it has become an incredibly effective advocate for protecting and defending the things that make the American West so special: its breathaking landscapes; its wild, free-flowing rivers, its crystal-clear air; its majestic old growth forests; its spectacular wildlife; and - most importantly - the quality of life for the people who live and visit there.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a student in the University of Oregon's Environmental Law Clinic during the late 1970s, and as a Board member since 2003, I've had first-hand exposure to all that this talented, dedicated team of lawyers, scientists and policy experts has accomplished.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add communications capacity so that more people would learn about the amazing work done by WELC's lawyers, biologist, and staff - as well as the importance of what they're doing to protect water supplies, wildlife, and America's Natural Heritage.

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